Franklin University, one of the leading educators of working adults, will hold its 150th Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, during which more than 500 degree candidates will receive their diplomas. This commencement ceremony will take place at The Greater Columbus Convention Center, 400 N. High St. in downtown Columbus.
Commencement has always been a time of celebration for Franklin University. The event marks a tremendous sense of achievement for Franklin’s students who completed their degrees often while juggling work, families and more. From the time of the University’s first Commencement ceremony in 1924 to 150 Commencement ceremonies later, Franklin’s graduating class often bring with them family, friends and co-workers to cheer on the culmination of their hard work.
Because many Franklin students are recognized for their accomplishments at work and are promoted during their pursuit of a degree, they choose to remain with their current employers. For that reason, graduation isn’t always a beginning in the same way it is for traditional universities. Instead, Franklin’s graduation ceremony is a celebration of the commitment to lifelong learning, a time when students commemorate all they have learned and applied while attending the University.
Senior statistician and president of Elite Research, LLC, René M. Paulson will make the keynote address. The founder of Divergent Web Solutions, LLC, and PhDStudent.com, Paulson is also a member of MomMD, LLC, and serves as the senior statistical consulting director of Texas Woman’s University, where she continues her mission to empower the world’s researchers.
After earning a Ph.D. and master’s degree in experimental psychology from Texas Christian University, and a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University, Dr. Paulson spearheaded Elite Research, LLC, a women-owned small business with headquarters in Irving, Texas. For more than 11 years, her team has fulfilled the statistical, research, optimization and editing needs for a global clientele. Realizing early on the need to support students before, during and after earning their Ph.D.s, she introduced the community and resource-based website, PhDstudents.com to the public in 2012.
Making a difference is fundamental for Paulson. Over the years, she has worked with a number of varying domestic and international nonprofits, assisting in everything from program evaluations to outcome measurements and (community) asset mapping. She has not limited herself to specific service types, but has taken on projects ranging from domestic violence and mental health to adolescent behavior and faith-based work. But setting up these projects is only part of what she loves about her work; the other part is imparting knowledge and skills to practitioners in order to help them do their work more effectively. Through her work with charities, she has been able to be a part of social change at the local, regional and global level.
In recognition of her dedication to her field, the Board of Trustees will confer upon Paulson the honorary Doctorate of Community Leadership during the ceremony.
Also addressing the graduates will be Ruthie M. Counter, graduating student speaker receiving her M.S. Marketing & Communication degree.
Counter has been a communication professional for more than 20 years and currently serves as the marketing and public relations staff writer and a part-time instructor at Parkland College in Champaign, Ill.
She earned her bachelor’s degrees, magna cum laude, in journalism and French from Butler University in Indianapolis.
Brief History of the tradition of the Franklin University Commencement Ceremony
Graduation at Franklin marks a time to applaud each student’s tenacity in attaining their degree. However, until the mid-1940s, graduation wasn’t always the defining mark of achievement. For the first 40-50 years, economic conditions necessitated that many of Franklin’s students focus more intently on taking coursework that would earn them certification rather than a degree. As a result of this focus, the University conferred only 12 or fewer degrees each year.
From the 1950s, the number of degrees conferred grew rapidly. In 1967 for example, 152 graduate degrees were awarded and by 1974, 604 students received degrees. In 1986, the decision was made to hold commencement ceremonies three times a year, at the end of every trimester. By May 2001, nearly 500 students, 150 of which were graduate degree recipients, received their diplomas at Veterans Memorial Auditorium. The University moved its Commencement ceremony to the Greater Columbus Convention Center in September 2014.
Commencement speakers have also played a key role in celebrating the achievements of the University. Over the years, keynote speakers have included the late Senator William Proxmire, the late Wendy’s founder David Thomas, 60 Minutes reporter Morley Safer, Ohio Speaker of the House Jo Ann Davidson and the late developer and lawyer Melvin Schottenstein.